Alpha Protocol Preview for PC

On: PCXbox 360PS3
Alpha Protocol screenshot
Alpha Protocol screenshot

It doesn’t stop there, either: by buying intelligence dossiers on people and factions that you’re about to meet, you can get the drop on your rivals. If you’ve gained enough background info on a given individual – either by buying it online or by retrieving it from hacked computers on your travels – you’ll unlock new dialogue options when you finally meet them. The old adage about stick and stones doesn’t apply here; words can hurt, and if you use them properly, they will. In any given conversation you’ll have the choice of acting casually, aggressively, professionally or suavely; your choice of approach may result in you securing an ally, getting laid or having a gun pushed in your face – but in all cases you’ll have to live with the results.

We covered this quite a bit in the last preview, but it’s worth re-stating again: everything you say and do in this game will have an impact on later events. Obviously, if you kill someone important early on in your spying career, they won’t show up later as anything but a tough stain on your laundry bill – but the balance of action and consequence goes much further than this. For example, at one point on your travels you may need to deal with a particular Russian informant who has some info that you need. If you’re polite, he’ll give you what you need, and he’ll also give you both an optional side mission and the contact details for a new arms dealer. If, on the other hand, you shout at him and then glass him like an ASBO yob on a government grant, he’ll be so utterly terrified of you that he’ll give you give you a five per cent discount in his shop (everyone in Russia sells guns, apparently).

In most RPGs this would simply be another throwaway morality choice, linked to a binary good/evil karma system – but here, things aren’t so clear-cut. If you glass the informant he’ll run crying to the local authorities, so when you later turn up to burgle a local embassy you’ll find it staffed by grizzly marines. This might sound like a bad thing, but if you approach them in the right way you get nice and chummy with them - so when the embassy gets attacked by terrorists, ten minutes later, they’ll help you out. If, on the other hand, you were squeaky-clean and nice-as-pie with the initial informant, the embassy will be staffed by wimpy security guards. No prizes for guessing what happens to them when the bad guys show up.

If Obsidian manages to maintain this muddied morality throughout Alpha Protocol’s 20 hour span, it should be a lot more unpredictable than the average RPG outing. The developer on hand at SEGA’s recent showcase claimed to have finished the game five times without seeing the same plot arc twice, and that the full game will have somewhere in the region of 32 endings. There’ll be a certain amount of “rubber-banding” in terms of the way everything ties together – minor variations on established events and structures – but there will also be quite a few branching points too.

Even within the first hour or so of play, I managed to annoy my boss to the point that he actively disliked me – so much so that I earned the trait “loose cannon” – while embarking on a promisingly flirtatious relationship with my female handler. My hope is that by the time it reaches its middle stages, when the plot has had to time to properly develop and thicken, there will be lots of difficult, gray-area decisions to make.

Alpha Protocol is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on May 28.

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8 Comments

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Lilbastardo's Avatar

Lilbastardo

I smell a dirty stinking turkey. You mark my words.
Posted 17:36 on 12 May 2010
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

Liked the look of this a while ago, but kinda went quite for while. Very much looking forward to this now.
Posted 19:19 on 08 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

This and the discussion about on BOT have definately raised my interest in it.
Posted 11:47 on 08 May 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

werent that interested about this due to mass effect 2 taking up my action RPG needs but after reading this it does sound quite fun to play! sounds like its got a lot of replay value which i like in games! especially after heavy rain multiple endings!
might rent this before i buy it unless it gets great reviews
Posted 11:44 on 08 May 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Had this one preordered for some time - and while I'm really looking forward to it, the game really does mark the beginning of the summer drought... :-/. Time to begin pacing myself...
Posted 17:27 on 07 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I'm so bloody looking froward to this game
What an informative preview as well, this has really confirmed my excitement for the title,
Thanks Neon
Posted 17:23 on 07 May 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice preview. Getting more interested in Alpha every day when new news or previews are up on the internet.

I think I will do plenty of playthroughs to see if the game can perform well.
Posted 13:38 on 07 May 2010
South_East_Jedi's Avatar

South_East_Jedi

soooo cannot wait, i'm going to Jack Bauer the whole thing
Posted 11:17 on 07 May 2010

Game Stats

System Requirements
Release Date: 28/05/2010
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Sega
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 2,228 260
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